Formal structured education needs to start at the age of three if Britain is to keep pace with top-performing Asian countries, according to Elizabeth Truss, the Children’s Minister. This is from the Times…
Ms Truss said that young people needed to be “properly equipped with the essential skills from the beginning of their lives” to compete in the tough international jobs market.
She quoted the French system, in which three-year-olds are prepared rigorously for school at écoles maternelles. The system is being extended to two-year-olds. She also praised a primary academy school in London that teaches maths and Mandarin to children as young as three.
It signalled a return to the era of the controversial “nappy curriculum”, which Labour introduced in an attempt to make early learning more formal. The previous Government was forced to abandon its guidelines following criticism that the ‘Nanny State’ was robbing young people of their childhood.
But Ms Truss said that the gulf between British children and those in top-performing countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore opened up before primary school. If Britain wanted to compete, it had to improve early years education.
More at: Prepare children for jobs, minister urges nurseries (subscription required)